The Brain Science On Why Your Slides Need to Be Simple
In the last couple of articles, you learnt about 2 of the three powerful spam filters used by the old brain. These spam filters decide whether your audience would pay attention to your business presentation or not.
In this article, you will learn about the third spam filter called…
The ‘Simplicity’ filter for your slides:
If your slide appears too complex to your audience – they tune out.
The reason is – the old brain is wired to screen out anything that appears too complex at first glance.
Now, let’s take a look at a common type of slide in business presentations. What is your first reaction on seeing the slide?
Did you even try to understand the information? I am sure…you didn’t.
In fact, you may have felt overwhelmed and turned away from the slide. Isn’t it?
It is because, your old brain hates complexity. When something looks vague, heavy and conceptual your old brain assumes that the information is going to put a huge strain on the new brain and hence blocks the information from even entering the evaluation phase.
So, what is the solution?
How do you get your audience to pay attention when your subject is inherently complex?
2 Steps to presenting complex slides
There are two simple things you can do to present a complex subject in a simple way.
- Present one idea per slide
The moment you try to fit in more than one idea on a slide, your slides start to get complex. So, the best way to present complex information in a presentation is…
- Start your presentation with an ‘overview’ slide to give a bird’s eye view of the subject you want to present
- Once your audience gets the overall context, you can deep dive into individual ideas – one at a time
- Once you are done explaining the details, you can summarize the ideas with the ‘overview’ slide you showed at the beginning of your presentation
This 3 step approach helps your audience understand how the various pieces fit together in the overall scheme of things. They will pay attention to your presentation instead of tuning out.
- Present a complex idea in small sequential steps
Sometimes, you can’t break down an idea or concept into multiple slides because the concept may not make much sense when broken down.
In such cases, you may want to present your complex idea in small incremental chunks using custom animation.
This allows you enough time to explain each step clearly while holding the attention of the audience until you reveal the whole picture.
Here is a quick look at the 2 steps again:
When you follow these two suggestions your audience would be more willing to listen to your presentation, even if your subject is complex.
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